Driving Under the Influence & Prescrption Drugs — Broward DUI Attorney

Fort Lauderdale Criminal Practice Areas William R. Moore Criminal Defense

Alcohol consumption is not necessary for a person to be arrested and convicted of driving under the influence, says Broward DUI Lawyer William Moore. Alcohol is easier to quantify through the use of a breath test. Although urinalysis can detect the presence of drugs, the test does not show the amount that was present in a person’s system at the time of the test. Only a blood test quantifies the amount.
In cases where a blood test was actually obtained, the results will usually be interpreted by a toxicologist, who will be called by the state to testify regarding the substances actually present as well as the amount of the drugs present. For example, just knowing that a driver had a breath test of 0.02 — well under the per se limit of 0.08 at which the law presumes a driver to be too impaired to operate a motor vehicle — combined with the presence of Xanax in the body is insufficient to prove a DUI. However, if a toxicologist is present with the results of a blood test, that information can be key for a jury to make a decision regarding a person’s guilt. If the Xanax was at therapeutic levels, or the level generally prescribed by a physician, the person is less likely to be found guilty of driving under the influence. If, however, the levels are several times higher than the therapeutic dose, the case is more difficult. This is particularly true where the blood test results conflict with statements made by the defendant following his arrest regarding how much Xanax he took.
Generally, the police will also need a reason to request testing beyond a breathalyzer. For a urine test, there must be probable cause to believe that the person has drugs in his or her system. Blood draws are more complicated. The first reason a police officer can require a blood draw, even forcible, is following an accident with a fatality or where there were serious bodily injuries. The second would be where it is impractical to use a breath test, such as a driver who is unconscious or is being treated in a hospital. The third way for a blood draw to come about is if the driver consents to it, after being informed that it is an alternative to a breath test. Drivers do not have a choice of test, even though there is evidence that blood tests are more accurate than the breathalyzer machine, notes Fort Lauderdale DUI Lawyer William Moore.

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Victims Rights in the Criminal Justice System in Broward County

Domestic Violence Attorney William R. Moore

Florida was one of the first states to recognize the concept of victims’ rights, the notion that victims of a crime should be heard in the criminal justice system and their input taken into account, says Fort Lauderdale domestic violence lawyer William R. Moore. In some jurisdictions, a prosecutor will always attempt to speak with victims of a crime prior to making a plea offer to a defendant. Although the victim is not a party to the proceeding — it is the state versus the person accused of the crime — the Florida criminal justice system tends to value the views of victims.

In some cases, victim contact is more valuable to the state than others. For example, domestic violence cases tend to have difficult victim issues. In some instances, the individual listed by the responding law enforcement agency was not the person who even called the police, and had no desire for law enforcement to become involved in the conflict. In other cases, because the victim decides he or she does not want to sever the relationship or for other reasons, the victim does not wish for the state to prosecute the alleged offense. Either way, the state sometimes moves forward with prosecuting cases without a victim-witness if the state attorney deems the prosecution appropriate even in light of the lack of cooperation. The state attorney’s office also employs victim advocates who may counsel domestic violence or other victims regarding resources available to them and other matters, notes Broward criminal attorney William R. Moore.

Victims can also be corporations, which is usually seen in theft or property crimes cases. For instance, if the defendant is accused of stealing an iPod from a chain store, the state attorney’s office may contact the assets protection unit to determine if the business has a preference regarding sentencing or if the corporation simply wanted to recover the merchandise.

Victims’ (or alleged victims’) cooperation is not always essential for the state to prosecute a case, and the notion that a victim “presses charges” is not entirely correct in the sense that they are not the ones who elect whether to prosecute the case or not. Nonetheless, they are involved in the justice system, and the prosecutors and courts make an effort for their voices to be heard. Some victims may just seek restitution, while others will be upset and want the defendant to go to jail. Still others may seek a compromise in which the defendant would attend anger management or domestic violence classes — each case is different.